Spanking 1-year-olds is common in depressed dads

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Associated Press

Posted on March 14, 2011 at 1:30 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 14 at 7:29 AM

CHICAGO (AP) — A new study says a surprising number of new fathers with depression spank their 1-year-olds.

About 40 percent of depressed fathers in the survey said they had spanked their kids at that age, compared to just 13 percent of fathers who weren't depressed.

Researchers analyzed data on 1,746 fathers in 16 large U.S. cities, from 1999-2000, the most recent comprehensive data on the subject.

Lead author Dr. Neal Davis, who conducted the study while at the University of Michigan, says depression among fathers is strongly tied to unemployment rates, which are much higher now than a decade ago.

Many child development experts warn against spanking young children. Other studies have shown that kids who are spanked are at risk of being physically abused and becoming aggressive themselves.

The researchers in this study say spanking is especially troubling in children who are only 1, because they could get injured and are unlikely to understand why they're being spanked.

The study is in Monday's journal Pediatrics.

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